Kindred Spirits

By Shahrezad1

Summary: Andy's not the only one with a wild imagination.

Disclaimer: Pshaw. If I owned any of this, do you really think I'd be working at a Toy Store for a living? …wait a second, um, I take that back…

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"You can't be serious," quiet, muted laughter echoed invitingly from the depths of a library cavern, light faint in the darkness of the mostly abandoned building. And at half past eleven it really was no surprise-despite being midterms week it was a Saturday, set up smack-dab in the middle of Summer Semester. Meaning that most of their peers were out and about, busy in their activities and late-night social calls.

Not that they were the best example of responsibility, Andy mused in the steady lamplight, particularly when their conversation resembled more the former than the study session they had intended.

"Oh, but I am! And then in one fell swoop I landed smack dab in the middle of the orchestra section, half of me sticking out of the school's only tuba with Woody tossed somewhere in the violins," dramatically describing the event, the young freshman made the sound of a plane crashing through pursed lips as his right hand swooped down to clap into his left, held distinctly lower and separate. The effect was instantaneous as his companion was overcome with laughter, holding her side as her straight, thick black ponytail bounced with mirth.

"Seriously, it was like a scene out of the Buzz Lightyear Star Command cartoon series. And if I didn't know any better I would have said Wood set it up or something; I'm almost surprised he didn't."

Beatriz wasn't exactly the kind of girl he normally spent time with, he knew. For one she was, well…young. While his eighteenth birthday had come and gone she was just a little over sixteen and yet already his Senior, having graduated early and started college with creative writing in mind, in contrast to his beginnings of an Engineering degree.

It was just that they were…different. Her parents had immigrated to the country long before she'd been born, and though they had both been raised in middleclass families she'd had both parents instead of only one, and a bilingual set at that. Also, where his mind was made for building with existing substances, hers was busy spinning tales from fluff and air. He couldn't understand her motivation, even, except to say that it was a curious mystery that popped up every now and again.

But then there were times when something…higher seemed to connect them in an odd form of kinship, beyond the College-level Algebra he was tutoring her through, or the strenuousness of his English 1010. It was those moments that made their friendship worthwhile.

So, yes, they were somewhat odd. But it was also something refreshing in the stale environment of grungy cynicism and scholarly angst they found themselves in.

"You never know," she responded cryptically, before moving on cheerily, "and I bet that was quite a sight to see," she breathed through her nose, bushy brows crunching up in the middle of her forehead as she imagined the scene. Andy couldn't help his matching smirk, smiling not so much at the memory as to her humor. She was an adorable kid, and reminded him more and more of his sister Molly every day. Abruptly her laugh morphed into a yawn, however, prompting an echo from him. Then a couple more chuckles followed as they ran a round of laughter right back again.

"Well, I'm gonna call it a night. We don't seem to be getting anywhere, and I've still got to see-" she blinked abruptly, eyes becoming more focused as though remembering something. Then deliberately closed her mouth and nodded, continuing, "got some papers to fill out."

"Burning the wick at both ends?"

"What can I say? I've gotta scholarship to maintain," she let out a bark of laughter, stuffing papers into her backpack while simultaneously yanking on a jacket, this act resulting in several pieces of loose-leaf paper falling willy-nilly to the floor. And, like the gentleman his mother had raised him to be, Andy automatically picked them up.

His face crinkled, "what's this?" It seemed to be a drawing of some sort, made with layers of thick robin's-egg blue and violet crayon, crinkled at the edges and worn with age. He didn't get to examine it further, though, as it was snatched from his hand and hidden.

Bea's smile also hid with it, creating immediate surprise in the older college student, "it's nothing. Just a drawing."

A drawing she seemed to be rather protective of. And hadn't he seen, for a single split-second, the afterimage of black and some sort of light pink?

"Um. Okay. Well, I guess I'll see you next week, then," surprised by the abrupt change, Andy blinked and straightened. But by that time the girl had seemed to sort things out enough to give him a smile.

"Sure. And then I can tear apart yet another of your essays."

"Only if I get to use the dreaded red pen on yet another math assignment!" was his triumphant return. She just laughed and turned to walk away. But something seemed to stop the other student, a hesitance he'd only seen a few times in the length of their friendship.

Beatriz turned back, biting her lip and gripping the paper to her chest.

"Look, Andy…"

"Yes?"

She breathed heavily, thin shoulders rising and dropping with the importance of Atlas himself. And when she finally met his eyes it was all he could do to hold them as something akin to wariness shot from Bea to him, responsibility weighing down on each of her deliberate words, "…what you said about your Woody toy…what if it really wasn't an accident? I mean," looking at the scuffed hardwood floor then back up into his baby blues, her brown gaze seemed mournful but determined, "you've told me a lot about your toys, and the weird places they've shown up. I know it's because you gave them up right before coming to college and it's been…hard for you. But what if…"

The small Hispanic girl seemed to only be able to look downward for the next few moments, so much that he was about to prompt her. But then…

"What if you weren't just imagining things, hm?"

And then those thick brows bunched one more time before disappearing entirely as she swiftly walked away and out of the circle of light. Leaving Andy with plenty to think about, surprise turning to introspection.

AN:

I know, I know. I shouldn't be starting anything. Especially with SSU and Icarus to do, not to mention homework and the huge Disney project I'm intending to work on. But this caught my fancy in the fact that, well, it seems to me that a lot of the Disney/Pixar 3D characters have skeletons on their closets, so to speak. Experiences that are rather out of the norm for young children. And I wondered, perhaps, if Andy might have absently noted a few of them. And if so, would it be so surprising for him to run into others with similar pasts? And to seek closure for himself?

Pardon the grammar, by the way. It's not my best work and I tend to write this when I'm the most tired. Making for an odd combination, writing-wise. If I made any mistakes just point them out to me.

Also, in a true Disney/Pixar tradition, the inclusion of anyone's favorite Disney movie goes to the person(s) who can name who Beatriz is and comes from. Because she was really fun to create and develop. ^^ This is going to be a slight crossover, if I decide to continue it, but it's going to be a crossover spanning several different Disney movies (in-jokes, references, character appearances and the like). And since I can't decide on just one for the secondary crossover category, I've decided to just post this as though it was a regular story, and not a crossover one.

I hope you don't mind.